Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

“Welcome to Wrexham,” naturally, spends a lot of time with McElhenney and Reynolds as they go through the experience of owning a football club. From being appointed the new owners of Wrexham A.F.C. to worrying about their investment, the excitement and absurdity of these two navigating this new venture is compelling. They both have an infectious charisma that has made them such winning actors throughout their careers and it translates to this documentary splendidly. But “Welcome to Wrexham” smartly doesn’t spend all of its time focusing on the starry duo; McElhenney and Reynolds are only part of this winning documentary series that shines brightest when the people of Wrexham take the spotlight.

Given the success of “Ted Lasso” and Americans’ interest in the sport on the rise, football (or as we know it in America, soccer) is having a moment. One of the most intriguing prospects of international football that attracted McElhenney to Wrexham was the idea that the team can be promoted or relegated based on their yearly success. The English football league system, or the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues. The top tier, the Premier League, is where the greatest international talents of football play and top-flight teams like Manchester City and Liverpool can be found. The higher the tier, the better the talent, and the higher the prizes. As you go lower on the pyramid, the more difficult it is for the team to be profitable and to attract the talent needed to be promoted. Wrexham A.F.C. can be found in the fifth tier, the National League, the lowest level of professional football in England. Given the already disappointing attendance due to their placement and the stress that COVID-19 further put on the club, Wrexham was on the brink of dissolving or at very least languishing in everlasting football purgatory. 

This docuseries highlights an assortment of Wrexham athletes that have been with the floundering program for many years, proprietors of local businesses, and residents who bleed the colors of their football team through thick and thin. One such interview comes from the owner of a local pub, aptly called The Turf Pub. Owner Wayne Jones emphasizes just how important Wrexham A.F.C. is to the people: “You can’t put into words what it means to people, it’s almost like losing a limb. Because people say it’s only a game, but it’s more than that. This football club means everything to people in this town.” Other interviews share not only the love of the game but the sacrifices that have been made to support the team. This love is infectious and it’s not hard to imagine the documentary creating new members of the Wrexham club. 

By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.